Otago Polytechnic and Te Whatu Ora Southern (and its predecessors) have enjoyed a formal relationship since 1976.
The bond between Otago Polytechnic and Te Whatu Ora Southern (and its predecessors) have enjoyed a formal relationship since 1976 when the Otago Hospital Board transferred responsibility for physiotherapy education to Otago Polytechnic.
After successfully delivering a Diploma in Physiotherapy for many years, Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago offered a new shared course in 1991 – a four-year conjoint degree course. Later, physiotherapy education moved to the University of Otago. Since this initial connection, Otago Polytechnic has taken over health education from Te Whatu Ora Southern (and its predecessors) in a number of other areas, and now offers world-class education in Nursing, Midwifery, and Occupational Therapy.
Clinical placements with Te Whatu Ora Southern have always been integral to programme delivery for all health programmes. Today, membership and participation from key Te Whatu Ora Southern staff on a number of Otago Polytechnic Permanent External Advisory Committees is also extremely important for the ongoing relevance of Otago Polytechnic’s health programmes.
History of qualifications in Nursing, Midwifery, and Occupational Therapy
Otago Polytechnic first offered a three-year Diploma in Nursing in 1984, as part of the transition of nursing education from the Hospital Boards to tertiary education. The Diploma of Midwifery was established in the late 1980s for registered nurses wishing to become midwives. (Both Nursing and Midwifery were able to offer three-year undergraduate degree programmes from 1991 after a change in legislation).
Also in the late 1980s, both Otago Polytechnic and the then Auckland Institute of Technology set up new Occupational Therapy programmes. In 1995, Otago Polytechnic offered the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy for the first time. More recently Te Whatu Ora Southern and Otago Polytechnic have collaborated to establish a Diploma in Enrolled Nursing at Otago Polytechnic.
The relationship is as strong as ever in the programmes today
The School of Nursing and Te Whatu Southern are equal partners in workforce strategic planning meetings with the Chief Nurse and Directors of Nursing. The majority of new graduates are employed in a variety of areas on graduation from the nursing programmes. Meanwhile, Te Whatu Ora clinical staff play a crucial role in imparting specialised knowledge to Otago Polytechnic students throughout the theory components of the nursing programmes.
The School of Midwifery has students undertaking placements with Te Whatu Ora throughout all years of the Bachelor of Midwifery degree. Students will work alongside midwives in Queen Mary Maternity Centre and in Kew. Students also come into Te Whatu Ora Southern facilities with women they are working with in the community when on placement. Over the last few years, graduates have taken up positions in the new graduate programmes in Invercargill and Dunedin.
The School of Occupational Therapy and Te Whatu Ora Southern collaborate on student fieldwork placements every year, with 35 students embedded in Te Whatu Ora Southern for periods of four to eight weeks – covering all areas of practice. Te Whatu Ora Southern Occupational Therapists also participate as guest lecturers in teaching sessions, and some Te Whatu Ora Southern Occupational Therapists are enrolled in postgraduate courses at Otago Polytechnic. Over recent years, Te Whatu Ora has employed a couple of new graduates annually.
Otago Polytechnic is a provider of superior career-focused education and training.
The relationship between Otago Polytechnic and Te Whatu Ora Southern is long-standing and mutually beneficial. The two organisations continue to collaborate closely to prepare tomorrow’s health professionals for the workforce.